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Search for Hidden Figures contest

21st Century Fox and PepsiCo, in partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), have named Yuna Shin from Bothell, Washington, and Joy Bualamwini from Cambridge, Massachusetts, as the two grand prize winners of “The Search for Hidden Figures,” a contest awarding scholarships to young women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The contest was inspired by 20th Century Fox’s Hidden Figures, which stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as three female African American mathematicians who play crucial roles in the Space Race of the 1960s. Applicants to the contest answered essay questions and provided video submissions about the importance of STEM to themselves and the rest of the world, competing for a total of $200,000 in scholarships including $50,000 to each of the grand prize winners and $10,000 to ten runners-up.

“Scholarship programs like The Search for Hidden Figures are important incentives that encourage young women to consider STEM-based careers,” said Ellis Rubinstein, President of the New York Academy of Sciences. “The quality of submissions was phenomenal and demonstrated the extraordinary breadth of creativity and ingenuity that is unleashed when students are given opportunities to shine.”

Shin won the contest in the “13 to 19” age category. In her submission, she illustrated how STEM excites her imagination, and in the future, she’ll study abnormal brain waves that could help prevent seizures for those facing epilepsy. Buolamwini, who won the ’20 and above’ category, outlined a project to develop tools that can help identify and mitigate algorithmic bias that can often lead to discriminatory practices and behaviors in society. In addition to their $50,000 scholarships, Shin and Buolamwini will travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida, to continue their STEM education through training from NYAS. Watch their winning videos at SearchForHiddenFigures.com.

Search for Hidden Figures Winners

Shin and Buolamwini were selected from more than 7,300 entries by a panel of judges that included Hidden Figures Producer Pharrell Williams; Hidden Figures Producer Donna Gigliotti; Fox 2000 President Elizabeth Gabler; and President of the New York Academy of Sciences Ellis Rubinstein.

“It was an inspiration and privilege to participate as a judge in The Search for Hidden Figures,” said Elizabeth Gabler, President, Fox 2000 Pictures. “All of the finalists’ presentations were intelligent, passionate, innovative, and aspirational. I know these scholarships will help these bright young women to achieve great things and they will no longer be hidden figures in their chosen STEM fields."

Beyond the contest, Hidden Figures has become a rallying cry for diversity in STEM. The film screened at the White House as part of a larger event celebrating the contributions women of color have made to the STEM fields, and it also garnered a nomination for this year’s Humanitas Prize for outstanding social messaging. 21CF has also used Hidden Figures to reach out to young people considering careers in STEM, screening the film at the Paley Center for high school students in New York City and at USC's Galen Center in Exposition Park for nearly 10,000 middle and high school girls in Los Angeles.

"We are honored to have the opportunity to share the story of Katherine Johnson and her peers whose contributions have remained hidden for too long," said Lachlan Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox, when “The Search for Hidden Figures” contest was announced in November. "At 21CF, we believe in the power of storytelling to inspire the next generation of talent to dream bigger and unlock their full potential, and through ‘The Search for Hidden Figures’ contest, we are excited to give young women across the country the encouragement to pursue those dreams."

Learn more about “The Search for Hidden Figures,” including the full list of finalists and their videos, and check out highlights from the contest in the video below:


Liba Rubenstein

Corporate responsibility consultant and writer Susan McPherson spoke with industry leaders across multiple business sectors in a January 19 article for Forbes about the trends in CSR they see for the year ahead. Liba Rubenstein, 21CF's newly appointed SVP of Social Impact, was among those interviewed, and she discussed the business world's unique capacity to bring about social change, as well as the importance of clear, captivating storytelling to a successful CSR strategy:

"The world's most respected companies focus not only on doing meaningful, measurable work in their communities, but also on telling compelling, multidimensional stories about who they are and why Social Impact is core to their identity," she said. "They're also taking advantage of exciting mediums like virtual reality (VR) to increase empathy and understanding. A dry CSR report isn't going to move the needle anymore - we all have to be storytellers."

See more of Liba's interview, as well as insights from CEOs, CSOs, authors and more.


Hidden Figures cast

Photos by Leroy Hamilton

Nearly 10,000 young women from middle and high schools across Los Angeles County gathered at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center on January 10 for an exclusive screening of Hidden Figures, the hit film from 20th Century Fox that tells the true story of three female African American mathematicians who played crucial roles in the Space Race of the 1960’s. The LA Promise Fund for Public Schools organized the screening, which featured appearances by cast members Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Aldis Hodge, along with producer Pharrell Williams, all of whom spoke about their hope that the Hidden Figures story will inspire more women and women of color to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

“When I first heard what the story was about, which is three African American women who help get our first man into space, I thought it was fiction,” Spencer said during a Q&A with the cast. “When I realized they were real women who made real contributions, which we are still feeling the effects of today, I wanted to be a part of telling their stories so that we will never have people not getting the recognition that they so richly deserve… You are the master of your fate. Remember that.”

Hidden Figures USC Auditorium

The LA Promise Fund invited female students from more than 100 public schools to the screening as part of its Girls Build LA initiative, which challenges young women from across LA County to use STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) principles to effect social change. The event featured a full day of speakers and presentations, including from Diana Trujillo, a Hispanic-American immigrant from Colombia who now works for NASA as the Activity Lead for the Mars Curiosity Rover, and Dr. Knatokie Ford, Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, who emceed the program.

“Take a look around. You all represent the depth and the diversity of LA County, and I am so very inspired to look at all your beautiful faces and all this amazing potential that you represent,” Ford said. “I hope that you will not only be entertained by this amazing film you’re about to see, but I also want you to be encouraged, and I want you to be inspired to think that you can do it too.”

This event was supported by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

21st Century Fox previously partnered with the LA Promise Fund in September 2015 for the West Coast premiere of He Named Me Malala, the documentary about the life of international girls’ education activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai. The event brought together nearly 7,000 girls from middle and high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and featured a special video appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama. Following the screening, students were treated to a festival on the L.A. Live Plaza, where 21CF organized a selfie campaign, encouraging girls to make a pledge to #StandWithMalala and take action in their schools and communities.

Learn more about the LA Promise Fund, and watch video highlights from the screening below. Hidden Figures is now playing in theaters across the United States.


Nat Geo WILD uses the power of storytelling to inspire a love of wildlife and nature in its audiences, and through a new short film contest, the network is giving young filmmakers across the U.S. the chance to do the same.

The 4th annual WILD TO INSPIRE competition asks contestants to create one-minute videos that share personal wildlife stories, from travels around the globe to the habitats and ecosystems thriving in their own backyards. Enter the contest by uploading these videos to Instagram with the hashtag #WildToInspireContest until submissions close on February 15.

“It’s only through the incredible storytellers behind the camera that we’re able to take our viewers inside some pretty wild places,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager, Nat Geo WILD. “Being able to support and provide a platform for the next generation of filmmakers who have the same passion for nature and wildlife as we do is extremely rewarding.”

On February 27, the network will announce three finalists who will screen their films at the Sun Valley Film Festival in Sun Valley, Idaho, in March, as well as win a cash prize. One Grand Prize Winner will then embark on an all-expenses-paid expedition to Africa, where he or she will document the trip through photos, videos and blog posts on the Nat Geo WILD site. The contest is open to all U.S. residents.

“WILD TO INSPIRE is just one of the many ways in which the Sun Valley Film Festival showcases emerging filmmakers,” added Teddy Grennan, executive director of the festival. “We look forward to seeing how this year’s submissions will take on the challenge of the one-minute film.”

Learn more about WILD TO INSPIRE, including how to enter, and check out the trailer below:


After a career in ocean conservation lasting more than 60 years, Dr. Sylvia Earle is taking her research to new heights in the latest documentary from National Geographic, Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures. The film follows Earle and her team, including renowned National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry and writer Max Kennedy, as they embark on a year-long journey to use the power of photography to advocate for the protection of vital underwater habitats and natural wonders. Sea of Hope premieres on Sunday, January 15, at 7:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM CT.

“Change is happening fast: We’re losing coral reefs, we’re losing fish in the ocean and ecosystems are unraveling,” Earle said. “The chemistry of the planet is being affected by what we’re putting into and taking out of the ocean. There should be some places that we leave alone, like national parks.”

Earle has been at the forefront of marine biology and ocean conservation for much of her career. She’s spent more than 7,000 hours underwater and has led more than 100 expeditions. She also founded the organization Mission Blue, which conducts ocean exploration with the goal of expanding the world’s marine protected areas from less than 4 percent now to 20 percent by 2020.

“Here, we take our life support system for granted,” Earle says in Sea of Hope. “We breathe air that is generated largely by the ocean… This is a place where we have to make peace with Earth, with the ocean, so that we can explore other places, so that we can have a long, enduring future right here on Earth. And a whole new era of exploration is just beginning.”

Throughout the documentary, Earle and her team travel across the United States exploring lakes, rivers and tropical areas such as the Hawaiian Islands and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The film details the way these ecosystems work to support underwater life, the various ways they are being threatened including pollution and climate change, and a behind-the-scenes look at underwater exploration and photography techniques.

The team began its expedition with the hope that these efforts would inspire the federal government to establish what they call “blue landmarks” across the country’s many bodies of water, and they have already begun to see success. The documentary culminates in President Barack Obama creating the world’s largest marine preserve in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

“Imagine what we can do if we get serious about clean energy, if we get serious about reducing carbon, if we get serious about making sure places like this survive,” Obama told National Geographic. “If we want to leave behind the same kind of incredible beauty that sustains not only our bodies but also our souls, we’ve got to work for it.”

Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures will air as a special night of programming dedicated to exploring President Obama’s legacy. The two-hour documentary Obama: The Price of Hope will premiere at 8/7c on January 15, immediately following the premiere of Sea of Hope.

In addition, the February 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine will feature a look back at the history of U.S. presidents protecting marine areas, beginning with the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and continuing through to President Obama’s efforts. The issue will also feature Skerry’s photography of preserved marine spaces.

Learn more about Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures, and tune into the premiere of the one-hour documentary on National Geographic on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 7/6c. The February 2017 issue of National Geographic will be available online on Jan. 9 and on newsstands on Jan. 31.